Basing using Mikey Mud – AKA DIY Basetex

Having put a similar article on the Baccus forum some while ago I thought it time to update it, do a few more photos, and post it here. Often at the SMS clinics I only really get chance to talk to people about basing techniques in 6mm given the problems of drying times. The two main methods I tend to discuss is the floodwashing technique (AKA the Baccus basing system) and the Mikey Mud technique.

So what is Mikey Mud I hear you cry. Well over the years I have tried many basing techniques. Firstly was the old PVA and drop on some sand, but I found this ‘flat’ and  kept coming off by the grain or even sometimes in chunks. This led on to mixing the sand with PVA which added more texture but still shed all over the place ( I think the PVA I was using and the plastic bases had some part to play in this). Then came the 15 min epoxy which was very solid but also very messy and very expensive! I had a trial out on basetex but found is consistency to be inadequate. Things came to a bit of a head a few years back when I was confronted with the rebasing of some 7-800 28mm Wars of the Roses figures. I needed something that was going to be relatively cheap, easy to use, workable, acted as a filler to cover integral metal bases, and ideally acted as a base colour to paint from.

My thoughts were that something along the lines of basetex was the right direction to go in. I concluded that I needed a particular base (sand), PVA, and a pigment (paint). Happy to do a bit of ‘structural’ gardening I often had some builders shard sand knocking around (bought by the tonne it’s as cheap as chips). The next step is really important unless you want to grow a variety of fungi and moulds in your Mud pot. This is cook the sand – this burns off the carbon matter in the sand. I tend to do mine in an old roasting dish and cook in the oven at 200 C for an hour or so, two or three lots has provided me enough sand for over 5 years now.

Next is to get the grade you are after. With the 28mm models I initially was using this on I thought to use raw would provide some more stoney bits I can use to give greater depth to the texture. I quickly learnt that it was better to have removed these as they proved more trouble than they were worth as it was so much easier applying and working with a ‘smoother’ mix of mud. This is where personal preference comes in as to what ‘grade’ you want to go for. I use an old children’s fishing/butterfly net or a fish tank net. I feel this gives enough texture to the mix whilst being very workable. Keep the larger stones and grit that are sieved out as they come in handy later to add clumps of rocks to the bases.

The ‘Ingredients’

Baseing - Mikey Mud ingredients

..and as I embark on expanding my Epic 40K forces and get stuck into some 15mm Sci-fi I find the need for a black mud so here is a fresh pot.

Basing - Mxing the ingredients 1

Basing - Mixing the ingredients 2

This made too thin a mix so ~ 30% of it went into another pot and more sand was added. Essentially use the water and sand to create the texture you are after.

Mikey Mud in Action

So here we have a step-by-step guide to using Mikey Mud on some freshly painted Rapier Persian light cavalry. Please note I would normally be holding the mounting pot but only having two hands meant I have placed it down to take the photos.

The finished models on their painting strip.

Persian light cavalry to be based

Figures stuck down to the base (basing is for Impetus 60mm x 40mm).

Basing - figures attached to base

The Mikey mud is first of all spooned on to the base using a modelling tool, focus on getting the right amount on the base as opposed to getting it the right place.

Basing - Applying Mikey Mud

Basing - Rough Mikey Mud applied

Next up take a largish brush and using liberal amounts of water you can mould the Mud across the base and into the recesses. This also brings up a bit more texture on the surface.

Basing - Sculpting and texturing Mikey Mud

To further add some texture I drop on some grit and stones which are gently tempered down into the mix.

Basing - Adding stoney crops

Basing - temping down stoney rocks

Painting the base

First up is overbrushing the whole base with Valejo 127 Ochre Brown. Firstly this is done around each model with a smaller brush before using a larger brush to cover the larger areas.

Basing - Painting - Initial overbrush - detail

Basing - Painting - Initial overbrush - large

Next up is a patchy drybrush of Valejo 123 Dark Sand, using two coats on the stony areas.

Basing - Painting - Highlight drybrush

Finally an edging in dark brown and the addition of MiniNature Moss pads late fall (747-24 S)

Basing - Painitng - Adding tufts

… and the completed base, which will be available for viewing on the Rapier stand at Triples (onwards) along with other Persians I have painted.

Basing - The finished article

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15 comments on “Basing using Mikey Mud – AKA DIY Basetex

  1. Steve says:

    Very nice…thanks for posting

  2. cranium27 says:

    Glad you approve. Feel as though I ought to do a follow up post on using the Baccus basing system, which is essentially a floodwash system.

  3. Steve says:

    I think your using precision metal bases?,,,does it stick to the base ok?…I am thinking of getting some of the Magister Militum bases to see what there like but I am a bit worried about the mud sticking to it

  4. cranium27 says:

    Not had any problem with any of the bases to date (I’ve been using PWS steel bases now since ~ 2005). My main suggestion would be to use a decent PVA glue. We have some ‘craft’ PVA glue for the kids which I would be reluctant to use in the basing mix as it seems a little ‘thin’.

  5. Steve says:

    I am wondering what the floodwash system is?…maybe its what I do already and didnt know the name for it

  6. Caveat added, when using builders sand, also wash it, quite thoroughly. This may seem odd but as well as carbon additions as mentioned it can have quite a high salt content which brings issues down the line if not dealt with.

    Those persians look gorgeous!

    • cranium27 says:

      Makes sense – I guess I have not encountered a problem as it usually sits in the garden for a couple of months exposed to the elements and gets a good natural washing. This exposure may also explain the varied growth I get if I don’t ‘cook’ it!

    • cranium27 says:

      …. and those Persians are for your display ;-), just finished some Persian Camel Archers too and am very happy with them as it caused me to use a different technique which I have not really used in 6mm – more on that hopefully before the end of the weekend.

  7. An alternative is to keep an eye on places like tesco, wilkinsons and aldi et al, and buy kids sandpit sand, which is clean sterile and pretty cheap.

    • cranium27 says:

      I have nabbed the kids sand before now but find it is too fine a grade to give the texture I am after.

      One alternative a friend now uses (after a couple of my pots went mouldy on him!) is to add ~ 1/2 a pot of Valejo Hull Red (146) to a 200ml pot of Valejo Grey pummice. I tend to bring this along to the SMS clinics along with Mikey Mud and the Baccus basing system. However quite often there is not the time to demonstrate them properly due to issues of drying times and the focus on painting. I hope to overcome this to some extent with a series of bases of models at the various stages so I can use the “and this is one I prepared earlier” to speed things along.

    • SaigonSaddler says:

      I got a bag of sand from a Railway modelling shop. Also sterile and fine enough for 6mm use.

  8. Steve says:

    Nice idea Rapier..Not sure what Wilkinsons is but I will have a look in Tescos

  9. RexHavoc says:

    Hi, I found this guide via the baccus forums and have tried several different mixes of your mud, but Can not get it to go on as nice as yours! I find mine cracks once dried out and has very little surface texture (even after using plenty of water)

    I have tried a drier version of the mud but find it becomes unworkable any drier.

    The current mix I have is a jar full of mix that is about the same thickness as a heavy cake mix, the spoon can create peaks in it and stand up in it, but it will fall off if held up in the air!

    I hope its just something I have done wrong and that I’m able to replicate your mix in the end!

    Many thanks!

    • cranium27 says:

      I think the problem may be in the sand. I have tried some sharp sand I had from B&Q and although ‘sharp’ it was a fairly fine grade throughout and as such made a more smooth ‘putty’ with little texture. You are after a pretty course grade sand – with the builders sharp sand I tend to use it needs putting through the butterfly net to pull out all the stuff that is too chunky. I think when you find the right sand you will in all probability find the cracking problem resolves.
      Might I ask where you are ‘based’ (sorry about the pun), and if in the UK do you attend any of the shows?

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